Revelation 12:10

Sermon preached on December 1, 2013 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Under Joseph Stalin's dictatorship in the 1920's to the 1950's the Soviet Union developed a vast collection of labor and concentration camps. They were called the Gulag. Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn was confined to the Gulag for almost 11 years. He wrote about the gulag and how it operated in his book, The Gulag Archipelago. Under Stalin, millions of people were arrested and sent to the Gulag. Solzhenitsyn estimated that between the late 20's and the early 50's "some forty to fifty million people served long sentences in the Archipelago." ( It is thought that the total number of deaths in the Gulag from 1918 to 1956 was between 15 to 30 million. Part of the reason for the rise of the Gulag was Stalin's paranoia. Stalin saw enemies everywhere and he established quotas for the number of people to be arrested and sent to the Gulag. Solzhenitsyn wrote, (G.A. vol. 1 p. 147)

"For Stalin could never be convinced that in any district, or city, or military unit, he might suddenly cease to have enemies."

Solzhenitsyn wrote, (G.A. vol. 1 p. 71)

"Every city, every district, every military unit was assigned a specific quota of arrests to be carried out by a stipulated time."

Failure to meet the quotas was not tolerated. If the officials in one district failed to meet their quotas, they were in danger of being arrested.

For the slightest offense people would be shipped off to the Gulag. In his book, Solzhenitsyn gives, I would say, hundreds of examples. (The following are from Vol 2, p. 293-295) A tailor was busily working had to put his needle down, and quickly stuck it in the wall near where he was working. He inadvertently stuck it in the eye of a picture of a party official. He was given 10 years for terrorism. A sales lady in the store accepted a quantity of soap from a forwarder, and noted it on a piece of newspaper. It was the only paper there. The number of pieces of soap happened to fall on the forehead of a picture of Stalin. She got 10 years. A tractor driver lined his thin shoes with paper for warmth. But the paper he used was a communist political pamphlet. 10 years. A village club manager went with an employee to buy a bust of Stalin. The bust was big and heavy. The manager gave it to his old employee to carry back to the shop. The old man had great difficulty carrying it. If he tried to carry it at his side it didn't work because his arm wasn't long enough. If he carried it in front of him, his back hurt and he was thrown off balance. Finally, he figured out how to do it. He took off his belt, made a noose, put it around the neck of the bust—and was able to carry it home. 10 years. A sailor sold a foreigner a cigarette lighter as a souvenir— 10 years. A girl sang a little ditty at an amateur concert that barely touched on anything sensitive— 10 years. A deaf and dumb carpenter was laying flooring. As he was working, he hung has coat and cap on a bust of Lenin. 10 years. Children were carrying on in a collective farm club. They accidently knocked a poster off the wall. The two oldest were shipped off. In a bookkeeping office, someone changed a poster's lettering. The original poster said that life had gotten better under Stalin. The defaced poster said that life had gotten better for Stalin. Rather than try to find the guilty party—all of them were shipped off.

The book contains example after example. It was horrible. People were given years of hard labor for the most trivial things, sometimes for nothing at all.

The first part of that great process was an accusation. Someone, a neighbor, an acquaintance, an enemy, made an accusation and it often didn't matter if the accusation was true or not—the accused would be carted off to the gulag. If someone didn't like you, they could make up something about you and often that's all that was needed. The officials needed to fill their quotas. They knew that the vast majority of these people were innocent but they didn't care. Millions perished.

In a very real sense, an accusation, whether true or false, is a terrible thing. If the accusation is true—the person is guilty and shame, disgrace, humiliation come from that. If the accusation is false—it can still do a great deal of harm. A lot of people will assume that it is true. Reputations can be damaged. Many harmful repercussions can follow. Accusations, though sometimes necessary, all have to do with sin. Whether it's true or false, they all result in much sadness, much pain. There's no joy in such a situation.

What we see in our text is that as a result of Jesus ascension into heaven, Satan, the great accuser of the brethren, has been cast out of heaven. We read, (Revelation 12:10)

"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
'Now have come the salvation and
the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them
before our God day and night, has been hurled down.'"

This was a great and momentous moment for God's people. This is an event that we should meditate on because it should give us great comfort and help us to love Jesus more.

Consider what we have here. One of the horrible activities of the dragon is highlighted and we are shown how it was completely thwarted with the ascension of Jesus.

Satan was the great accuser of Christians.

One of the devil's names is Satan. We see that in verse 9. He is called the great dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan. When the devil is called 'Satan' in the Old Testament it is in the context of being an accuser, an adversary, referring to someone who is hostile. His accusations are hateful. He wants to destroy. We see him trying to disrupt the relationship between God and his people.

That's the character of his accusations. They're not at all like proper accusations. Sometimes in the church there have to be accusations for the purity of the church, for the honor of Christ, for the reclamation of the offender, to get him to turn from his sin.

But Satan's accusations aren't like that. He seeks to destroy. His accusations have to do with his character. He's been a liar and a murderer from the beginning. (John 8: 44) He hates Christians and seeks to separate them from God.

We have an example of this in the book of Job. One day when the angels came to present themselves before God, Satan came with them. When God asked if he had considered Job and how there was no one on earth like him, a man who was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil, Satan replied, (Job 1:9–11)

"Does Job fear God for nothing?
Have you not put a hedge around him
and his household and everything he has?
You have blessed the work of his hands,
so that his flocks and herds
are spread throughout the land.
But stretch out your hand and strike
everything he has, and he will surely
curse you to your face."

But after God took just about everything from Job, Job gave praised God and worshiped Him. Satan's accusation was a lie. Then Satan accused Job again. He said, (Job 2:4–5)

"Skin for skin! A man will give
all he has for his own life.
But stretch out your hand
and strike his flesh and bones,
and he will surely curse you to your face."

But again, Job did not curse God. He held on to his faith. His hope was still in God. So what we see about these accusations against Job was that they were found to be untrue. They were false. There was no basis for Satan's accusations but he made them anyway. He wanted to destroy Job.

We see another example of Satan's accusations in the book of Zechariah chapter 3. We read, (Zechariah 3:1–4)

"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest
standing before the angel of the Lord,
and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.
The Lord said to Satan,
'The Lord rebuke you, Satan!
The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem,
rebuke you! Is not this man
a burning stick snatched from the fire?'
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes
as he stood before the angel.
The angel said to those who were standing before him,
'Take off his filthy clothes.'
Then he said to Joshua,
'See, I have taken away your sin,
and I will put rich garments on you.'"

We're not told what Satan was going to accuse Joshua of, but it could be that he was, (Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, BECNT; p. 475)

"accusing him of the sins of the nation".

If that is the case, this accusation of Satan would have been true. Joshua appears as defiled. He was dressed in filthy clothes. Satan accused him and wanted God to punish him. Satan wanted to separate the people from God.

But here in Revelation 12 we see that

after Christ's ascension everything changes.

In verse 3 we are told that the child is caught up to God and His throne. Then the dragon and his angels are cast out of heaven. A loud voice from heaven says that salvation and power and the kingdom of God our God and the authority of His Christ has come.

It says that the accuser has been cast down. Does this mean that he doesn't accuse any more? I don't think so. It's his nature to accuse. I think the thing is that he has been cast down from his position of accusing in heaven. Craig S. Keener writes, (Revelation)

"Satan's being hurled to the earth ends his position of privilege in God's court."

Dennis E. Johnson says that the battle in heaven, (Triumph of the Lamb, p. 183)

"symbolizes the truth that Satan has been disbarred from his status as prosecutor in the court of divine justice."

Johnson says that Satan used to be the accuser, (p. 183)

"—but now no longer!"

He still accuses. He is here on earth and he accuses us here. He often harasses us and tries to disturb our consciences. When we are vulnerable he tells us how sinful we are and that we do not deserve to be in fellowship with God. (R. C. Sproul, Romans) Sproul says,

"He accuses us in order to take away our assurance and joy and the consolation that is ours in Christ."

But Satan no longer has a hearing in heaven—and that's where it matters. Jesus, by ascending into heaven, has changed everything. In Romans 8:31–34 we read,

"What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all—how will he not also,
along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those
whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns?
Christ Jesus, who died—more than that,
who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God
and is also interceding for us."

Who will bring any charge as those who God has chosen? Who is he that condemns? There is no one. Simon J. Kistemaker says that Jesus entry into heaven, (NT Commentary, Revelation, p. 360)

"made it impossible for Satan to come before God to accuse the saints. Jesus assumed the role of the attorney-at-law, the advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). He paid the price to set his people free, and as a result Satan has been unable to bring slanderous accusations against God's people…"

Satan, the accuser, is not longer allowed in heaven to accuse Christians.

This is significant. I'm going in to the jail on Thursday morning and I'm going to ask the inmates how they would feel if when their day in court came and when the proceeding started, everyone realized that neither the prosecutor nor his witnesses were in the courtroom to accuse them. The judge would ask,

"Where's the prosecution? Where are the accusers?"

But they weren't there. He was no where to be found. Not only that, but they found that the prosecutor and his staff, the whole department, had packed up and left not only the country, but the continent and they weren't coming back.

How would the one that was on trial feel? He'd feel great. With no prosecutor, no accuser, the prisoner would go free. That's what we see in our text.

This passage reminds me of the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. They brought her to Jesus to test Him. They told Him that in the law Moses commanded them to stone such women. They asked Him what He had to say. Jesus said, John 8:7–10

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first
to throw a stone at her."

Then he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her,

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

She answered, (John 8:11)

"No one, sir,"

Then Jesus declared,

"Then neither do I condemn you."

She went free.

We Christians must not underestimate the ascension of Jesus into heaven. It was an important event in the history of our salvation. Remember how in John 16:7 Jesus said that it was for our good that He was going away? One of the good things that came to us because of that was the fact that our great enemy, the accuser, lost his position in God's court. He was cast down.

So what this means for you Christians is that

you ought to have great assurance about your salvation.

As we read in Romans 8:1

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,"

What confidence you ought to have in Christ's completed work. Because of what Jesus did by dying, rising from the dead and ascending to heaven— you ought to have absolute confidence that your sins are forgiven. Where's the prosecution? He's not in heaven's court. No charge can be brought against you. But your advocate is. Jesus is there. We saw from Romans 8:34 that He is at the right hand of God interceding for us. And Hebrews 7:25 says,

"Therefore he is able to save completely
those who come to God through him,
because he always lives to intercede for them."

No one can condemn us because Jesus died for us. His death on our behalf satisfied God's wrath. His resurrection signified His vindication—indicating that His atoning work was accepted. His ascension to God and His throne means that He rules all things and intercedes for us—making sure that no legal charge can be leveled against us. He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103) He has hurled, all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19) He has vowed that He will remember our sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:34) We are safe forever—not because of what we can do, but because of what Christ can do.

Christians, your accuser has been cast down. He has no voice in heaven. He has no power there. What rejoicing should be yours.

Secondly, I ask you Christians,

do you ever help Satan in his work? Are you an accuser of other Christians?

What's your speech about other Christians like? Sadly, and inexplicably, some Christians join Satan in his work. They accuse other Christians.

Now of course I'm not saying that we should never say anything bad about other Christians. But what I am saying is that we need to follow exactly the biblical guidelines when you speak against a brother or sister. If you don't do that you're sinning.

Yet sometimes we don't even try. We gossip and slander others. What we say about them isn't true. At other times what we say is true, but don't act in the right spirit. We often hide behind the truth. We think, "But what I'm saying is true!" and we think that whatever we say is justified because of that. But speaking the truth is not enough. According to Ephesians 4:15 we need to be,

"speaking the truth in love…"

James 4:11 says, (HCSB)

"Don't criticize one another, brothers.
He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes
the law and judges the law.
But if you judge the law,
you are not a doer of the law but a judge."

We're not to speak evil of one another. James 3:9–10 says,

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,
and with it we curse men,
who have been made in God's likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.
My brothers, this should not be."

Consider this—Satan is the accuser of the brethren. The question is: are you helping him in his work?

What a horrible thing for a Christian to do. Better not to live than to live like that. Christians, consider how you talk about one another. Christians, consider what you listen to. Don't allow unloving accusations against other Christians.

Lastly, for those of you who are not Christians. Unless you go to Jesus for salvation, on the last day you will have one who will accuse you. Satan will be there listing all your sins. All the universe will be against you— Satan, the demons, God, Jesus, the angels. You will be completely alone with your guilt and sins and you will have no answer. You will have no advocate to stand on your side. You will be completely alone and be condemned. Can you imagine how that will feel?

Don't let that happen to you. Go to Jesus today. Believe in Him. He's your only hope.